VP calls for internal auditors’ independence

ARUSHA: VICE-President Dr Philip Mpango has called upon African governments to establish and legislate the independence of internal auditors, enabling them to provide honest advice.

“In my opinion, African governments should include a provision in the Public Audit Act that safeguards and protects internal auditors from undue influence or interference,” Dr Mpango said during the opening of the 10th Conference of the African Federation of the Institutes of Internal Auditors (AFIIA) in Arusha on Wednesday.

The theme of the conference is ‘Beyond Boundaries; Make the Difference.’ He mentioned that the legal framework could also introduce a functional and administrative dual reporting relationship for internal auditors in line with the International Professional Practice Framework (IPPF), as a solution to potential intimidation and sanctions by some Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).

“Internal auditors should proactively challenge current practices and promote best practices while considering local circumstances and acting as a strong catalyst for improvement within their organisations,” he added.

The Vice President also urged African governments and leaders of public and private enterprises to allocate sufficient training budgets to nurture young, talented internal auditors and provide them with opportunities for professional growth, saying that will help them address emerging audit challenges and explore new opportunities.

“I would also like to remind governments and corporations that the field of internal auditing is evolving rapidly and requires a diverse team of internal auditors with a variety of skills, such as engineers, IT specialists, quantity surveyors, security officers, insurance and risk managers, economists, lawyers, and even medical practitioners, in addition to accountants,” the Vice President said.

He said the use of artificial intelligence is increasing in almost all aspects of life, noting that numerous transactions now take place online and as a result, fraudsters have also found ways of committing crimes online. Dr Mpango said that now more than ever, internal auditors must keep pace with rapid technological advancements, and should revisit information management systems, operating models, and business strategies to address the growing cyber insecurity.

Moreover, Dr Mpango urged all internal auditors to feel duty-bound to perform their duties using worldclass standards and regulations. “I encourage African Governments and Stakeholders to advocate for the accreditation of Internal Auditors, similar to the common practice in other professions,” he added.

According to the VP, the effects of the global climate crisis have created severe pressure and disruptions for governments and enterprises alike, and the internal audit function has not escaped the impacts of the climate crisis, particularly in Africa.

He also urged the internal audit experts participating in the conference to rise to emerging challenges, including assisting governments and corporations in building resilience and managing environment-related risks.

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